Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Foster Parenting

Well, I've got my mocha so I'm ready to write. My dear friend sent me a gift card for Starbucks for my birthday last month. That helps the budget. I love mocha's and I'd have one or two a day, but it doesn't feel right spending money on myself that much. I drink decaf in case you are wondering. So I digress.

I've heard three families mention foster parenting in the last week and it reminded me of my parents foster parenting in the 60's and 70's. Foster parenting is a gift that I do not have. Raising our two kids seems to be enough for us. I feel selfish, but I don't think I have the stuff it takes to open our home up for that challenge. I applaud foster parents for being able to let their love cover the needs of foster kids and their own (if they have them).

My experience is mixed. Our family started with teen boys which wasn't the easiest place for my folks to start. My older brother seemed to despise these guys he had to share his room with. They truly took an extra parental effort because there were problems at school, at church, with neighbors, you name it.

Next, we fostered a three year old boy. He had numerous problems, but my parents felt that our love could help this little guy so we adopted him when he was five years old. I thought it was neat at first because I thought he would change (I was nine). He needed lot's of counseling as the years progressed and he was in juvenile detention or prison off and on as he grew older.

They labeled him "incorrigible" and he was put on Ritaline ( couldn't find the spelling for this). You know the routine. My folks quickly took him off of that med. They decided "wild boy" was better than "zombie boy". Well, I am four years older than him, so he was just old enough to get under my skin and drive me crazy and he seemed to love that. We have a strained relationship to this day. It's sad, we just can't be around each other for too long before he gets under my skin.

The next age was infants.
Babies turned out to be so much fun and such an addition to our home. We all liked having the babies live with us. However, when my parents would consider adopting one, the paperwork from someone else would already be turned in and we never adopted a baby. It was sooooo hard to let the babies go. I remember a lot of tears around our house when a baby/ toddler was adopted out from our home. I think it became too emotional for my mom, especially if a child went back to it's biological parent and we knew it wouldn't be a good situation for the child based on our experiences with the little ones after a home visit.

The last child who lived with us was a six year old girl and she had major issues. She eventually went back to her biological mom. By this time my mom was fed up with the system and we retired. It was a valiant effort to help some kids, but for my folks it was too difficult in more than one way. I am proud of them for being foster parents for as long as they were. The experience was good in some ways and very difficult in other ways.

My prayers go out to foster parents and may God richly bless them for sharing their love with some kids who really need it. Don't be discouraged. God will help you through the challenges and you'll enjoy enough of the journey to make it worthwhile.


  1. Wow, for a minute I thought you were going to tell us that you were going to be foster parents and was surprised you hadn't mentioned it before!

    Fostering isn't easy and I admire the love and the commitment your parents showed.

    It is hard when they are sent back to their parents sometimes! Sometimes it can be a good think if the parent is on their way to recovery, but it's still hard to see them go!

  2. This is so incredibly sad. I never thought I could do it because I would get too attached and heart broken when they would have to leave. Thank God there are some Christian people who plant some holy seeds in these young ones.

    God bless these children who only want to know love and acceptance.

    Wouldn't you love to know where some of those babies are today?

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. I LOVED being a foster parent. We did it for 11 years and ended up adopting 5 of our children and I would love to do it again.
    It was never an easy road, but it was definitely the right road for us.

    Great post and thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Wow! I agree with you on the "not me" thing. I love love love my children, but I am just not as patient as I could be so I don't think that I would be great at that....

    Thanks for stopping by the 5 moms blog. We love our visitors!

  5. Yes, it's a little scary having them grow up and out into the "world," where we feel like we have less control.

    But we know that God has total control and we can rest in Him.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I've been trying to add a comment to my own blog here & it hasn't been working.
    I want to add that I didn't want to discourage anyone with this foster parenting post. Remember I was a selfish child when my family was a foster family so my perspective is probably different than my own parents.
    I think foster parenting is a wonderful thing to do & I admire those who do it or desire to do it. It is much needed in our country. Okay, thanks. Nannette

  8. Oh wow! This is a very personal post for ME! My parents fostered as well. We fostered a little girl first, but I was a baby and never remembered her really. Then a teenage boy. I adored him, but after he 'tried' some things in our house, he HAD to leave...the very next day! I remember at 4 years old feeling so sad when he left. He was 'a brother' to me.

    Then when I was 6, we fostered a 21 month old baby boy, and adopted him. Then six months later, we fostered and adopted another little boy age 14 months. Then when I was 8 we adopted an 8 year old boy. HE was a terror and at age 12, went back to his bio-grandmother. We lived in fear of a CHILD that whole time!

    I know what it did to 'me' to live through all the ins and outs of kids coming into and going out of our home. I know how hard it was on all of us when the 12 year old moved out. I could never, ever do it to my kids. I just couldn't... I almost feel guilty saying it, but we went through a lot of SCAREY years and I think even my parents regretted it. I know not all experiences are bad, because we did get two brothers out of it. But still - I couldn't bring in the problems into my home.

    It's a tough call, huh?